NBC’s Hannibal
Season 2, Episode 5
: “Mukozuke”
Directed by Michael Rymer
Written by Ayanna Floyd, Bryan Fuller, & Steve Lightfoot

* For a review of the previous episode, “Takiawase” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Futamono” – click here
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This episode starts the morning after events from the previous episode, “Takiawase“.
Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) gives us another glimpse into the culinary world of his marvellous kitchen. Luckily, it looks as if he’s serving up Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) a breakfast that’s completely free of human meat. Perhaps this is a tiny inkling of sympathy on the part of Hannibal; with everything going on, he might not want to upset Jack’s stomach too much.
As we saw in the last episode, Bella Crawford (Gina Torres) tries to commit suicide by taking all her morphine and slyly sitting in on a therapy session with Dr. Lecter. However, Hannibal watched her essentially die, then jumpstarted her heart again to keep her going. This, naturally, pissed Bella off because Hannibal agreed to let her go, he basically told her that it was okay to die with dignity by taking her own life.
Now, Hannibal and Jack have breakfast and relax together, as a friends. Sadly there is no clarity for Jack yet. He is tangled in the deeply, dark woven web of Lecter, just as Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) once was. Jack can’t yet see the forest for the trees, as Hannibal still wears that human veil around him, carefully disguising the Nightmare Man beneath it.
A note: love how they always juxtapose shots of Will as a jailed man and Hannibal as being free. One of the best is this opening where Hannibal cooks an elaborately delicious looking breakfast for himself and Jack Crawford, at the same time we’re watching an orderly slop nasty eggs and other substances into a plastic tray to serve up for Graham in his jail cell. Such a great and saucy way to show things! You really feel for Will, especially seeing all the little freedoms he is missing out on. One being a decent, healthy breakfast.IMG_0961Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) shows up again. She’s given a hot lead. Heading to the observatory – the now iconic building where the arm of Miriam Lass (Anna Chlumsky) turned up and where Frederick Chilton (Raúl Esparza) was not too long ago dissected by Abel Gideon (Eddie Izzard) and disemboweled.
Inside, Lounds come upon a horrific crime scene, one left specifically to be found in a grand, artistic manner. Jack Crawford shows up to investigate. Lounds tells him: “Send someone else. She’s one of yours.
One of the most devastating episodes/events in the whole of the Hannibal series because Beverly Katz (Hettienne Park) was such an excellent, developed character, as are Jimmy Price (Scott Thompson) and Brian Zeller (Aaron Abrams) for a few characters who are relatively minor overall. With this subplot though, Katz becomes a big catalyst in the furthering storyline of Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter. In fact, now that Katz is dead, Jack brings Will in to consult.
This scene comes off spectacularly. What a way for Bryan Fuller & Co. to bring in the world of Thomas Harris! They continually show us how an adaptation on television ought to go. When Graham is brought in, he looks so similar to the suited up and masked Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter that it’s both eerie and worthy of total excitement. There are plenty of these images we already know from the film adaptations of Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs, but without words and even infringing on anything too much, there are times when Fuller and the writers bring these images in as a perfect wink to readers and film fans alike.IMG_0963Will having to reconstruct the thinking and behaviour behind Beverly’s vicious murder is heartbreaking. To see him have to physically and mentally wrestle with the death of Beverly becomes pure tragedy. We can see how he needs to do it, but it hurts him all at once. Will is such an empathetic, caring individual, it’s always terrible to watch him have to relive the murders of other people. Such a tragic and wonderful character, which I’ve always thought about Graham, but Hugh Dancy makes it so that you’d have to be void of senses not to appreciate his performance.IMG_0970Another timeout here from usual reviewing to make mention of the food in Hannibal.
As I’ve mentioned plenty of times before, this series really makes me feel guilty about enjoying the look of the cannibal delights Lecter cooks up in his fancy kitchen. I mean, it’s awful when you think about it; clearly they’re not actually cooking humans, yet that thought is there as we’re watching these scenes. In opposition, everything looks wonderful and I just want to jump into Hannibal’s dining room, sit down, and lap up a few meals.
What is that beautiful little pastry shelled thing there? He uses Beverly’s kidney, I believe, and made some sort of ground up, fried dish that goes into that pastry cocoon. Looks so intriguing. The presentation of the food is unreal! The woman who does all this stuff is named Janice Poon. Not sure about Season 1, but I know for sure she does a good chunk of the episodes in Season 2 – here in “Mukozuke”, we most certainly see her culinary mastery at work and I think it’s one of the oft forgotten/overlooked aspects of this amazingly innovative series.
always pleased when Abel Gideon shows up on the scene. When first he came into the picture during Season 1, I thought it would be merely another passing guest role with an excellent guest star. However, Gideon keeps coming back and he’s honestly playing a good part, a decently big one, in some of the events throughout Season 2.
Here, he returns to the care of Dr. Chilton, in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. He and Will Graham have a little chat about the last time they’d seen one another. Things come up about Hannibal Lecter, though, Gideon is sure to play things very coy and teetering on the edges of actually speaking the woods Graham wants/needs him to speak.
Lot of good repartee between Graham and Gideon, which is no surprise. Two fine actors, also. Fun to see them work together, especially now that Will is no longer throbbing in mental anguish under his encephalitis.
Speaking of guest stars, I’m a big fan of Jonathan Tucker. He is a pretty versatile young actor. Tucker is just about the only thing I enjoyed from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, and I’ve just about worn out my DVD copy of The Black Donnellys in which he is incredible. Plus, there are other places I’ve seen him. To see him guest on Hannibal, as the sick, twisted orderly at the Baltimore State Hospital who is copycatting Will Graham’s supposed crimes? This is just one whopper of an appearance. It’s only one episode, too, which makes things that much more exciting.
Orderly Matthew Brown (Tucker) likes Graham, idolizes him in fact. He sees himself and Will as “hawks” because they work alone, they hunt alone. Through the conversation, Will comes to learn Matthew did indeed kill the bailiff, but not the judge; of course, we know which naughty, naughty boy did that! Eventually, Will asks Matthew to do something for him, something which Abel Gideon happens to hear; something devilish that may bring Will across the threshold and into Hannibal’s arms, one way or another.
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The imagery, once more, is fantastic in this episode.
Graham sees himself, after basically greenlighting the hopeful death of Hannibal at the hands of the copycat Matthew Brown – becoming the Nightmare Stag. He feels the antlers protruding from the skin on his back, poking out, one by one. Then he falls to the floor, on hands and knees, the antlers bust out, and he arches himself like an animal.
Absolutely wonderful! The darkness of the imagery in Hannibal makes it a beautifully executed bit of horror television. The best, in my opinion.
Some of the best stuff in this episode is during the finale, as Matthew Brown finds Lecter at a swimming pool where they each do laps in the lanes. Brown shoots Hannibal with a dart. Afterwards, the Chesapeake Ripper opens his eyes and finds he has a noose tightened around his throat, his arms held up and across like on a crucifix, his wrists cut. And below him, only a lopsided, overturned bucket with which he can keep his balance.
Brown circles him, proud to have caught the apex predator himself. This is like watching two dangerous animals sort of watch one another; a smaller, less overt predator has startled the bigger one, now he is in control.
What I enjoyed particularly was the moment when Brown starts asking Hannibal questions, telling him it doesn’t matter if he answers or not, that simply by watching his pupils he will know if Lecter is lying or not— dilated pupils for yes, no dilation for a no. When Brown asks “Are you the Chesapeake Ripper?“, we get a beautiful close shot of Hannibal’s wide eye, the pupils dilating open fast.IMG_0985 For the first time ever, Hannibal looks truly and deeply worried about what may happen. Of course, Brown’s plans are spoiled when Jack Crawford shows up, along with Dr. Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas). But for a moment there, I was wondering how things might pan out eventually. Could’ve went in a completely different direction. I love how Fuller & Co. have written this episode into things, plays a huge part in the developing psyche of Will Graham, as well as how he is further perceived by those around him while still trying to prove to others, no longer himself, that Hannibal is the one who has put him in a cell.
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“Mukozuke” is another solid episode so far in Season 2. There is a ton of stuff going on here. Most importantly, we’re seeing how Will Graham is, in a way, becoming a lot like Hannibal. He is certainly not a serial killer, or a killer in any negative sense of the word, however, his sending Matthew Brown to do away with Lecter shows a stark contrast from where we thought Will was, and where he clearly has come to be.
“Futamono” is next.

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